AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 97. Gamma Ray Bursts, SGRs and Black Holes
Oral, Thursday, June 3, 1999, 2:00-3:30pm, Grand Ballroom

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[97.01] Detection of Prompt Optical Emission from Gamma-ray Burst 990123

R. Kehoe, C. Akerlof, B. Lee, T. McKay, A. Pawl (Univ. of Michigan), S. Marshall (Lawrence Livermore National Lab), R. Balsano, J. Bloch, D. Casperson, S. Fletcher, G. Gisler, J. Hills, R. Miller, W. Priedhorsky, J. Szymanski, J. Wren (Los Alamos National Lab)

The Robotic Optical Transient Search Experiment (ROTSE) seeks to measure optical emission from gamma-ray bursts contemporaneously with their gamma-rays in order to better understand the burst mechanism. The ROTSE-I telescope array has been fully automated and responding to burst alerts from the GRB Coordinates Network for over a year, taking prompt optical data for approximately 30 bursts in that time. Observations of GRB 990123 reveal the first detection of an optical burst occurring during the gamma-ray emission, reaching 9th magnitude at its peak. We present here results from analysis of this data, as well as its implications for the burst phenomenon. In addition, we will present preliminary optical results for several other gamma-ray bursts.

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